book review

The Most Anticipated Book of 2017 | King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Friday, February 24, 2017

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 2/7/17
Pages: 528
Source: purchased
Goodreads: Add It

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

In Glass Sword, Mare sacrificed her freedom to protect those she loves. Maven, the newly crowned King, parades her around with a leash. Mare is without her lightening, withering away in a king’s cage. Her only hope of escape is to find Maven’s weaknesses and use them against him. The Scarlet Guard will stop at nothing to continue on the path Mare had led them to. Even without Mare there, they make progress one city at a time. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard is a fantastic sequel, leaving you in tears for the next book to come.

Best Book of the Year

  • King’s Cage is one of the most anticipated releases of the entire year. It may be still early in the year but I’m dubbing this the best book of 2017. It seems like we have been waiting for this sequel forever after the cliffhanger Victoria Aveyard’s Glass Sword put us through.
  • The first sentence transports you right back into the middle of the action, almost right where we left off in the last book. We are pushed right into Aveyard’s gorgeous writing I can’t get enough of.
  • King’s Cage had my stomach turning in anxiety of what was going to happen next. The story is unbelievably intense. There are twists and turns, non-stop action that doesn’t let up. It’s definitely an amazing sequel!
  • The writing is always a gorgeous masterpiece (I know, I mention it every book review: Red Queen, Glass Sword), weaving Mare’s world together. As the war grows darker and more intense, the writing only becomes even more visual. The war, action scenes are beyond incredibly and perfectly executed as if in a choreographed dance.
  • It’s extremely quotable. Whereas I find Gayle Forman to be the queen of inspirational quotes, Aveyard is the queen of breathtaking quotes. She could probably even make her grocery lists beautiful.

Multiple Perspectives -- Inconsistencies

  • Aveyard is changing narratives every chapter or so, which I understand is to keep us updated on all the separated characters. However, changing narratives—if she were going to be doing this—Aveyard should have started from book one. It’s unbalanced and definitely inconsistent in that we have gotten Mare’s wonderful narrative up until now. But all of a sudden, we get multiple narratives in the third book. In the end, besides the inconsistency of how it works in the series, the multiple perspectives works to keep the story going.
  • Despite being unsure about the change in perspectives at first (I want Mare’s narrative all the time!), I found myself liking Cameron. Her sass is a much needed humor in the wake of King’s Cage intense, action-packed plot. Cameron’s seething attitude of the side in which she was forced to choose is rather refreshing. It emphasizes how intelligent she is, in showing the many shades of both good and evil.
  • Cameron doesn’t particularly like Mare. It’s interesting to see her way of thinking, a sharp contrast to Mare’s narrative.
  • Evangeline joins as a new perspective rather late in the book, as if she was an after-thought (again, extreme inconsistency). I adore how each narrative holds Aveyard’s masterful writing but each sound different from each other.
  • A true, absolute love of mine is how the narratives are all female.  As much as I would love to get inside Cal’s head to see what is going on in his brain (probably boring war strategies), it is definitely fresh to get some much needed girl power.

Romance and the Ending that Will Break You

  • For me, it’s always been Mare and Cal but I am beginning to see Maven’s side in all of this. In Glass Sword, I thought him sick and crazy but as we get deeper into King’s Cage, Maven is beginning to open up more. We begin to understand his evilness in a way, and as much as I will not waver from my ship (Cal and Mare forever!), I am starting to like him again—as I stupidly liked him in Red Queen. Maven is young and as much as he does mad things, he thinks he has no other choice in the matter. He is scared for most of the book but well trained to hide it. He is so in depth, a character without bounds that I would have also enjoyed seeing how his brain ticks.
  • The ending will certainly tear you apart, starting with your heart. It’s not the cliffhanger we got in Glass Sword but more like we are getting ready for a new dawn, a red dawn. It is a change that we may not like, especially not like for our protagonist. There is only one way to figure out what happens next (and no, it’s not tracking down Jon, wherever he disappeared to. Where did he go? Because Aveyard never said and I’m worried about him J). We have to read the next book in the magnificent Red Queen series, of course.


King’s Cage surpassed Glass Sword in many ways. Its gorgeous writing, nonstop action and in depth characters are more than enough to quickly make this the best book of the entire year. Victoria Aveyard knows how to structure a fantastic storyline. You will be gasping for breath by the end, awaiting the next book in the series.

Red Queen (2/10/15): 5 stars
Glass Sword (2/9/16): 5 stars
King's Cage (2/7/17): 5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Some of you might know that I've just come back home, after a few months abroad. I quickly jumped right into reading all the unread books on my shelves, which have almost doubled since I arrived back. (Seriously, I am buried under my TBR and I may need help in digging myself out.) I came home to find tons of books that I thought I would probably never read, never finish or just not like (why do I even own them?) but I vowed to give them all a try. I was happily surprised when I loved some of these books way more than I thought I would.

Top Ten Tuesday is created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston (10/6/15): I was super hesitant to even read this when it first came out. I'm not too familiar with the original tale that this retelling was inspired from. However, I picked it up and quickly found myself done with it before I even fully realized. It was a quick read with gorgeous writing.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (5/5/15): Kasie West's books are quickly becoming an auto-buy for me. Her romances are so whimsical and adorable. And this one is no exception. I didn't know what to expect, considering we have all seen the pretend-relationship trope and it's kind of getting old. However, I enjoyed it-- not as much as The Distance Between Us-- but I loved it all the same.

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky (2/23/16): I thought this was going to read like a documentary, a look on the boy band society and their fans around the world. That probably would be an interesting, but a little boring book and I wasn't ready for what Moldavsky threw my way. We got some humor because talking about boy bands, how can you not? But the big surprise that made me really love it was how dark the plot really was.

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman (8/18/15): I heard about this book from a few others and wanted to give it a try. Historical fiction is not really my go-to genre so I was pretty hesitant in beginning but I quickly fell for all the characters and the non-stop action pushed me deeper into the story.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (9/10/13): A coming of age story. I do not tend to read a lot of these because the synopses sound so vague. "These things happen to the protagonist. She grows up because of it. The end." As an English major, I have read my immense share of coming of age stories and some are really great. Fangirl was one of those books that it seems everyone has read besides me already so I gave it a try. To say that I loved it would be an understatement.

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (9/15/15): I never read horror books anymore. They make me stressed. But when I was given this one for a review, it sounded awesome so I gave it a try. I was so surprised that as much as I cringed every few pages, shied away from the book while reading (it was scary!), I did really enjoy it!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (10/20/15): There is a huge hype behind this series and even while reading, I can't quite place it because I wasn't sold on the story. However, the format is so different than regular prose that I just wanted to keep reading. As much as I found the beginning to be a bit slow, it definitely picked up in the end-- so much so that I hope to read the sequel soon.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (9/29/15): This is another series that is super hyped. I tend to shy away from books during their hyped peaks. It seems everyone is talking about it and as much as I would love to join in the conversations, Six of Crows didn't sound like something I would ever read. I picked it up anyway and loved it. The writing is a masterpiece, with characters that will make you weep, and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seats.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (10/26/04): Confession: I saw the show before I read the book. I even told myself that I can't watch the show before reading but Outlander is a monster of a book, with thin pages. I bought this flimsy paperback that is now very well-read. It just took me months to read for some reason but it was so good!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (9/27/11): I knew I wanted to see the movie so I picked up the book. I didn't quite know what to expect. It's super short and even had some pictures so I gave it a try. As much as the plot didn't grip me as hard as I know it did others, I found myself loving the magical realism with the monster's stories. It was a nice surprise since I did not like Patrick Ness' A Knife of Never Letting Go.

What books have you read that you were pleasantly surprised you liked?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Favorite Too-Many-Feels Romances

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Do you know that today is Valentine's Day? I actually hadn't even noticed. I'm usually on top of posting something cute and OTP related for the week but it never even crossed my mind. So instead of writing a post about Facebook statuses your favorite OTPs will be giving each other or some awesome love triangles, I'm giving you my favorite romances that definitely give me too many feels.

Top Ten Tuesday is created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is: Top Ten Favorite Too-Many-Feels Romances.

feelings muse starlight too many feels brb dead

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (9/10/13): A coming of age story with a romance that will have you begging for more. Levi is an unexpected favorite, accepting the good and bad of Fangirl's protagonist.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (11/4/14): A romance that spans across dimensions. They obviously belong together, don't they? Each dimension contains pieces (about a thousand of them, maybe) of their lives-- some together, some not. However, you will be routing for a happy ending in every single world.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (12/2/10): This is one of my all-time favorite contemps. There's just something about a friend to romance that gives me some major feels. I will forever ship Anna and Etienne. It's pure magic with some drama sprinkled in.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (1/28/14): She was born to kill her betrothed. So, why does he have to be so nice to her? And why does he have to be so evil, it seems, to the rest of the world? Can't we all just get along and save the world?

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (8/25/09): Before shipping OTPs were cool, Dimitri and Rose were meant to be. A forbidden romance just got way more complicated when Dimitri goes to the dark side. Rose sets out to kill him but finds herself in love with him still. This book requires several breaks so you can breathe through the feels.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (7/2/13): At first, this looks like your common romance. It's ridden with cliches that make you swoon but West adds some fresh drama that makes you rethink. It'll most definitely be crushing you with the feels by the end.

Reawakened by Colleen Houck (8/11/15): A relationship doomed from the start. After all, he is a walking-mummy who has to go back into his tomb some time. However, there's a sequel so their romance must survive, right? Right!?

Winter by Marissa Meyer (11/10/15): It's the finale to The Lunar Chronicles, an epic series that has multiple ships where I have way too many feelings (well, never too many). Just the end of the series is enough for anyone to fall into a pile of feels and possibly never get up again.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (1/5/16): Yes! A pirate who is such a gentleman and a violinist who has some major spunk. With constant lies and possible betrayal occurring, it's difficult to not fall for these two.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (4/15/14): A pretend romance becomes a big deal when the obvious happens and they may be falling for each other. But I thought she liked the other guy. I thought her pretend- boyfriend was a jerk. I was wrong. Too many feelings.

Which books give you all the romance feels?

book review

The Sequel That Fell Short | Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Friday, February 10, 2017

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 2/9/16
Pages: 444
Source: purchased
Add It: Goodreads

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

In Red Queen, Mare became a Red pretend-princess in a sea of Silver. She is Red and Silver both, an in-between who beholds power but possesses red blood. It was nothing the palace has ever since before. In Glass Sword, Mare swaps her palace garb for trekking gear. She becomes a leader of a rebellion instead of a princess living a lie. She and the Red Guard fight together against their enemy. After discovering more people are both Red and Silver—different, just like Mare—Mare is out to find them. She gives them a choice: die or join. In the end, Mare realizes what she has become. She doesn’t even have a choice anymore.

I will try to make this review as spoiler-free as possible but, you know, sometimes I get so overwhelmed about so many awesome things and something slips (I will keep that to a minimum), but seriously, if you haven’t read Red Queen yet, what are you waiting for?  Red Queen is the stepping stone to this wild ride.

Sequels are always hard to face. Readers go in with high expectations and usually, they leave disappointed. I admit I had high expectations going into Glass Sword. Also, I admit not all of those expectations were met. As a sequel, Glass Sword falls short. It is not a magnificent sequel and some parts dragged on. The plot was nothing spectacular and if I’m being totally honest (which I am), it was a bit repetitive. The mission of the plot was to secure several people from the list and recruit them. Think about what that means. As a plot, the act of going to a town, retrieving the person from the list, recruiting them, and then bringing them back to camp is not extremely exciting. Think about recruiting several people then. The act got a bit boring. I hate to say that because Red Queen was one of my favorite books of 2015 but it’s true. Glass Sword, as a sequel, fell short.

As a book, which doesn’t follow Red Queen (because the first was so good, it would have been a miracle to top it), Glass Sword does fantastic. Besides the plot being repetitive, the character development allows for some amazing swoon-worthy scenes.

As usual, Victoria Aveyard hits it out the park with her gorgeous, strong writing. I mentioned my deep love for her writing in my Red Queen review. But I can say it again. For the excitement lacking in the plot, she definitely makes up for in her unbelievable writing.

Not to mention (okay, let’s mention it), Aveyard throws readers into a giant feels-boat by the end of the novel. No matter what you feel about the plot, in general, by the end of the novel, Aveyard is already setting up the beginning of the next book. The ending scene is not a cliffhanger, so much as it is a heart-wrencher. Why, Victoria Aveyard; I thought you liked us? In all serious-ness, readers will definitely have trouble waiting for the sequel (which released 2/7/17). Aveyard forces you to love these characters with her superb writing and gorgeous development and then… well, then I can’t tell you because I promised no spoilers.

Overall, Glass Sword is a good addition to Victoria Aveyard’s series. It doesn’t top Red Queen but it certainly pulls at readers’ heartstrings. Despite its repetitive plot, Aveyard moves the story forward with beautiful character development and hard-to-put-down writing. The ending will not only leave you wanting more, but it will leave you shattered. This sequel to Red Queen will have you crossing off the days until the next in the series.

Red Queen (2/10/15): 5 stars
Glass Sword (2/9/16): 5 stars
King's Cage (2/7/17): TBA

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I Wish Had More Sword Fights in Them

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

After closing the book and thinking about what to write in your review, don't you ever get that feeling that the characters should have clashed more swords? No? Just me. Sword fights are awesome, a great way to add some intense action sequences to the plot. Here's a list of all the books I think should have had more sword fights in them-- or sword fights in them at all.

Top Ten Tuesday is created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Wish Had More/Less of ____ in Them.

the princess bride

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (4/28/15): There are pirates and there is a fight. I want more.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (10/12/10): There's plenty of action with this time travel adventure. But more sword fights are definitely in order.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman (2/9/16): I put this one on the list even though I haven't read it yet. Many people have said it is a retelling of a famous pirate but with limited pirates. Does that mean no sword fights? Every pirate book should have a least one good sword fight. I think it's required.

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead (4/5/16): This book has the entire premise that could hold a great sword fight. Yet, when the climax hits it is with guns and knives and just no. Instead of dragging people facedown into a nearby stream, it would have been much cooler to see some sword fights in the midst of all this drama.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (10/20/15): Sword fights in space. Need I say more?

Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman (6/28/16): There was a fantastic sword fight action sequence but Eleanor Herman is a master of writing action and weaving history into fiction. I would be so happy to see at least 5 more epic sword fights in her books, let's hope for that in the next book.

The Selection by Kiera Cass (4/24/12): There is quite a bit of action in this series, but of another sort (ahem). Every time the rebels come to town, all the characters duck and cover. I say there is definite room to add an amazing sword fight into the mix of the Bachelor TV show.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (11/4/14): There is an action sequence where the countess is running away in the woods from gun shots. Imagine if the group of people were after her with bloody swords in hand. She couldn't outrun them forever. What would our dear Paul Markov do then?

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (1/5/16): We get a very small glimpse of mayhem in the beginning. Nicholas is a legal pirate, after all. Instead of small glimpse of fights on deck, I want sword fights of epic proportions.

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper (10/4/06): Vampires + Pirates = Sword Fights Necessary

Which books were you hoping to have more sword fights?